Chapter Four brings up something that’s contentious in many relationships, baby or not: dividing the chores. A lot of the tips in this chapter are useful for any couple, so if you’ve stumbled on this post without a baby on the way, read on anyway!
The chapter starts off with some upsetting statistics – unrealized expectations over shared responsibilities accounts for a 10% decline in a husband’s marital quality and a 25% decline in a wife’s martial quality. It also warns that couples that have it all figured out before a baby arrives may still have trouble, since so much will change.
The chapter goes on to describe a downward spiral – since each member of the partnership isn’t feeling appreciated, things tend to get worse, they tend to check out, do less, or let resentment grow.
However, all hope is not lost! Mark E. Crawford goes on to describe 10 things couples needs to do to help fix the situation. I’ll list a few of them here, but if you’re struggling with this issue, or think you might struggle later, you should definitely take a look at the full list.
Make a List
Sit down with your partner and make a list of all of the chores that need to be done. Once the list is written, then assign the tasks. It may feel a little juvenile, but it will eliminate any mysteries about what needs to be done and who will do it.
It’s okay to revisit the list, especially when you’re first starting out. If someone is finding a chore hard to complete, have an open discussion to try to come to a solution (the conflict resolution skills from Chapter 2 should help with that!)
Try To Relax
You have a newborn in the house, who will soon be a toddler. Things may not look the way they used to for awhile, even if both partners spend every moment on chores. That is absolutely okay – try to take a deep breath and keep things in perspective – a little clutter is okay.
Thanks for joining us for this book club! Next week is Chapter 5: Some Advice for Moms.